Finterra, a Singapore-based FinTech company has launched its operations in Kenya at a time when there is a heated discussion as to whether Kenya is ready to embrace blockchain.
“Kenya needs a blockchain technology. This is a wave of change that is sweeping around the world and Kenya cannot afford to be left behind,” said Mr. Hamid Rashid, the CEO, and Founder of Finterra.
According to Mr. Hamid, Kenya is ripe to embrace blockchain but there are concerns about them being used for cryptocurrency generation and money laundering. “The truth is that Kenyan regulators are not opposed to blockchain technology. What they are opposed to is cryptocurrency,” he said.
Mid last month, the Central Bank of Kenya issued a directive to commercial banks against trading with firms dealing with cryptocurrency. The CBK attributed the currency to lack of consumer protection, fraud, hacking and loss of data.
“What people need to understand is that there is a difference between blockchain and cryptocurrency. The blockchain is not the same as a cryptocurrency,” said Mr. Hamid.
What is blockchain? It is difficult to define the term blockchain but simply, it refers to a distributed or decentralized public ledger or database of records of executed and shared digital events among participating parties. When persons transact with a blockchain system, a public record of all the transactions is automatically generated and the transactions are visible to all participants which increases trust and reliability since the participants can access the transactions from different nodes if a one-point fails.
“The best things about blockchain technology is that it can never be hacked. Show me anyone blockchain technology that has ever been hacked,” said Mr. Hamid.
Finterra is an e-commerce company that provides social solutions for blockchain and has developed a blockchain-powered crowdfunding platform that allows users to create ‘smart contracts’ for specific waqf, (basically a donation of land, buildings or money) projects.
“Our platform does not generate cryptocurrencies,” he said.